If it couldn't be Lewis, I'm glad it was Kimi

F1: Raikkonen Wins Race and Title in Brazil:

Fourth on the grid, Alonso pressured Hamilton into the next corner, the Lago dive, and moved past the Brit, who went wide and down to the eighth spot…. Hamilton promptly went into attack mode, moving past Jarno Trulli’s Toyota on the following lap, then engaging in battle against Nick Heidfeld’s BMW for P6, a position the rookie gained on the seventh lap.
The Brit’s joy was short-lived, however: on the following lap, the championship’s deciding moment came about as Hamilton’s gearbox began to balk after the Lago corner. In-car footage showed the McLaren driver repeatedly hitting his shift paddle to no avail, until finally, right after the Laranjinha turn, the car seemingly went back to normal once again, in “mysterious” action eerily similar to what happened to Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari at the same track also on a title decider last year. The malady cost Hamilton 10 spots as he dropped down to 18th.

And that was it. Alonso could do no better than third, Massa gave way to Raikkonen in the pits, the Williams and BMW drivers narrowly failed to take each other out, and Kimi was the improbable champion.
So what will next year be like? Lewis and Kimi will presumably be team leaders at McLaren and Ferrari, but where will Alonso be? BMW? Renault?

Dan Dennett at AAI'07

My friend Kevin just forwarded me the link to Dan Dennett’s recent talk at AAI. I’m embedding the two halves of the video below. If you want to skip the preamble, Dan starts talking at around 17:20 16:34 into the first clip.

A quiet weekend

This weekend is cool and drizzling, so I think I’m just going to spend it doing chores and watching sports. Today we had Chelsea showing their classic style as they knocked off Middlesborough, then the qualifying for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix ((Go Hamilton!!)), followed by the Rugby World Cup (close, but no cigar), and finally this evening’s win by the Red Sox to keep their dream alive. Tomorrow is the Grand Prix, and then we’ll see if the Sox can complete their come-back to make it to the World Series. ((And even though I’ve been in the USA for over 26 years, I still think the term “World Series” sounds pompous and silly. Having one team from Canada doesn’t make it an international event. But then when it comes to entertainments of all kinds, the US is choosing to become more and more isolated.))

Hillary Clinton and the war

A blogger attending a lunch at which Hillary Clinton was speaking reports the following:

What I do know, is that I heard her say that she would end the Iraq war immediately upon taking office. Lots of heads snapped up when she said that (and there was plenty of applause, even a little whooping) and the very politically plugged in person sitting next to me remarked that the statement was “completely new”. She went on to say that the troops had already done everything they had been asked to do: got rid of Saddam, created a situation where elections could take place, surged to create political stability so the elected Iraqi government could do some legislating and work out a political solution (which she said they have not done) and that it was unfair to ask our troops to stay in Iraq and “play referee to an Iraqi civil war.” She said there is no military solution.

If the report is accurate, and if she sticks – forcefully – to this line, she’s going to be the next POTUS. I think Obama will make a fine VP.

The Great Separation

Mark Lilla has written a fascinating essay entitled Coping with Political Theology, which is also the introduction to his book The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West. Here’s the key thesis. Writing about the religious wars which tore Europe apart in the 16th and 17th century, he observes:

As we know, this crisis of Western Christendom prepared the way for modern political thought, and eventually for modern liberal democracy. And it seems to follow from this fact that modern liberal democracy, with its distinctive ideas and institutions, is a post-Christian phenomenon. I want to insist on this formulation as a way of stressing the uniqueness of Christian revelation and its theological-political difficulties – and therefore the uniqueness of the philosophical response to the civilizational crisis those problems triggered. Though the principles of modern liberal democracy are not conceptually dependent on the truth of Christianity, they are genetically dependent on the problems Christianity posed and failed to solve. Being mindful of this should help us to understand the strengths of our tradition of political thought, and perhaps also its limitations.

(My emphasis.)
Lilla argues that, deep down, Americans recognize this truth, which is why democracy and tolerance have trumped religiosity at every turn, and will (hopefully) continue to do so. Not all agree with him: see, for example, this troubled response by Damon Linker, and this from Philip Jenkins. In any case, it looks like a must-read book. ((Hat-tip to Sully, who also has an essay at Cato on the subject.))

Hell, yes!

Terry just blogged the following; I can do no better than to simply repeat it.

A Question
From Bill O’Reilly we get the following.
[W]ould you support President John Edwards? Remember, no coerced interrogation, civilian lawyers in courts for captured overseas terrorists, no branding the Iranian guards terrorists, and no phone surveillance without a specific warrant.
To which the the only answer I can think of is,
Hell yes.

Absolutely. I hope one of his (increasingly rare) non-lickspittle guests poses the obvious challenge: “Bill: why do you hate the U.S. Constitution?”